The Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead (named for the first female police officer in Kansas to die in the line of duty), has kicked off its annual Pumpkin Hollow event. The fun and games will continue daily until Saturday, October 31st. Located in Overland Park, Kansas, it's a solid 45 minute drive from Ft. Leavenworth with about 3 large construction zones along the route. However, we have been almost every day except Saturday and we've never lost more than a minute or 2 in these zones.
Admission to the farmstead is free Monday - Thursday and $2 per person Friday - Sunday. Parking is free and ample, even on a busy Saturday. There is a cafe near the entrance where you can purchase snacks, drinks and ice cream and a concession stand in the back (near the pigs, turkeys, butterfly garden) where you can buy brown bag lunches. For kids, the brown bags include a hotdog or pb&j (an Uncrustable), chips, gummy snack, drink and a small, plastic farm animal for $5.00. Although I don't love the nutrition values in the sandwich, we only visit about once every couple of months and it's a treat that he'll stop and eat when there are so many things to do other than eat lunch. For adults, there is a similar brown bag meal that can include a pretty tasty BBQ or turkey sandwich, chips and a drink (no toy, sadly). While you are not allowed to bring outside food into the farmstead, you can use one of the many picnic tables (most with shade) near the parking lot to eat anything you brought. And re-admission to the farm after lunch is easy.
In general, we adore the farmstead, especially as a family who doesn't have easy access to local farms. It's a phenomenal and educational experience for everyone. And I could easily spend an entire post describing the many activities available just on the farm, but for now, I'm going to stick to Pumpkin Hollow, their annual autumn event that begins on the other side of the ponds, just past the playgrounds.
8 x 8 = 64
64 > reasonable for a couple of hours climbing on hay bales
And that's not even common core math. BUT that price includes a horse-drawn wagon ride to and from the games (reins are wrapped in bells so you can jingle all the way) and a pumpkin of your choosing. OK so a family of 8 gets 8 pumpkins, like it or not. But hey...
8 pumpkins = canned pumpkin for life
In a perfect world, you could pay less (say $4 per person) and opt out of the pumpkin. But that's probably more bookkeeping than is physically feasible on a gorgeous, fall Saturday in October. So, just to make sure we are all on the same page, if you go to Pumpkin Hollow on a Friday - Sunday, it will be $10 per person. Now you can't say I didn't warn you.
One of the benefits of being a 3-person family with 1 person in school 90% of the time is that this only cost us $16 but our neighbors paid $32. So, let's see what that gets you....
A staff member is there to greet the group, give you a little lay of the land and remind you that it's best to save the pumpkin picking for the end. Also, there are no bathrooms out here. Just so ya know. Then the gate is closed behind you and the festivities can begin!
We visited on a Tuesday morning shortly after they opened. It was overcast but warm and we had maybe 10 other families in the field with us. I imagine that it gets a little nuts on the weekends so I would strongly suggest doing this during the week, if you can....especially if you have very little ones or they are timid around other kids. Also, I think maybe the max age on this would be about 8 or 9. This is the perfect autumn activity for toddlers, up to about 7 years old. If you have kids in a wide range of ages, there is something for everyone, but it's definitely geared more toward the younger ones.
pumpkin hoops with soft, stuffed balls
a toddler-sized tunnel
adult-sized stilts...which I couldn't do and I'm going to 100% blame my foot surgeries last spring
a short hay tunnel
and climbing hay bales
When you are all done, the patch of (already-picked) pumpkins is just past the curtain.
The boys loved Pumpkin Hollow and we stayed a little over an hour. We probably could have stayed longer but it was getting close to lunch and nap time. I have to admit, when I was told it was $8 for games and a pumpkin, I was a bit skeptical. However, a vote on the way home revealed it was Mommy and kid-approved! It is a great deal for a one-time visit and the memories we made with our friends were priceless.
$8 < priceless